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The Afterlives of Walter Scott

Ann Rigney

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644018
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738784 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644018.001.0001
The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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Using street-names referring to Waverley and Abbotsford as a starting point, this book explains how the work of Walter Scott (1771-1832) became an all-pervasive point of reference for cultural memory and collective identity in the nineteenth century, and why he no longer has this role. It breaks new ground in memory studies and the study of literary reception by examining the dynamics of cultural memory and the ‘social life’ of literary texts across several generations and multiple media. Attention is paid to the remediation of the Waverley novels as they travelled into painting, the theatre, and material culture, as well as to the role of ‘Scott’ as a memory site in the public sphere for a century after his death. Using a wide range of examples and supported by many illustrations, this book demonstrates how remembering Scott’s work helped shape national and transnational identities up to World War I, and contributed to the emergence of the idea of an English-speaking world encompassing Scotland, the British Empire, and the United States. It shows how Scott’s work provided an imaginative resource for creating a collective relation to the past that was compatible with widespread mobility and social change; and that he thus forged a potent alliance between memory, literature, and identity that was eminently suited to modernizing. In the process he helped prepare his own obsolescence. But if Scott’s work is now largely forgotten, his legacy continues in the widespread belief that showcasing the past is a condition for transcending it.

Keywords: Walter Scott; cultural memory; nineteenth century; literary reception; remediation; collective identity; modernization; social life of texts; transnationality; English-speaking world

Book.  328 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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Portable Monuments in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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Procreativity: Remediation and <i>Rob Roy</i> in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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Re-scripting <i>Ivanhoe</i> in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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Re-enacting <i>Ivanhoe</i> in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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Locating Memory: Abbotsford in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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Commemorating Scott: ‘That Imperial Man’ in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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How Long Was Immortality? in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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Epilogue: Cultural Memory, Cultural Amnesia in The Afterlives of Walter Scott

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